Finding women behind a bar is not a new thing - in fact, one of the legends around the invention of the cocktail attributes one Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Flanagan with the honour, in a book called The Spy that was published in 1821. <get educated :D>
Moving onto the present day, increasing numbers of women are deciding that a career behind the bar is for them. As a famous person once admitted,
Women make excellent bartenders because “many studies say that our palates are better. Women usually have a deeper sense of ownership, so our attention to detail, and sense of pride are usually higher.
However, women talk aside, as bartending continues to grow in prestige across the globe, cocktail competitions are more popular than ever before, making stars out of those who impress.
One such prestigious mixology competition is the Diageo Reserve World Class. Launched in 2009, it is transforming fine drinking experiences and cocktail culture around the world by discovering the next generation of bartending talent who set the latest mixology trends.
After a day of fierce competition, incredible craftsmanship, unrivalled creativity and exceptional cocktails, “SAMIA”, Head Bartender of Artcaffe Kenya beat 6 of the best mixologists to be crowned the DIAGEO RESERVE WORLD CLASS™ KENYA Bartender of the Year 2016.
The finals took place at the Villa Rosa Kempinski hotel on Tuesday.
Finalists competed in four categories including the crowd-favourite high-pressure ‘Against the Clock’ challenge, ‘Street-food Jam’ where bartenders were asked to create cocktails inspired by Kenyan cuisine, a task built around the natural rhythms of life from ‘Night to Day’ and ‘Around the World’ a cocktail journey influenced by Kenya and the USA.
Samia will go on to represent Kenya in the global finals later this year in Miami. She shared the spotlight with Brew Bistro's Benu Kundra who equally brought some impressive skills to the table. He won second place.
Samia mesmerized the judges from the onset but it was her Speed round cocktails that consisted of 8 drinks in 10 minutes that helped cement her win. Throughout the day, the bartenders participated in challenges in round robin format that tested their skills in speed, inspiration, creativity in display through contrasting cocktails and finally a food pairing challenge.
Samia had to showcase her skills to an esteemed panel that included Global Brand Ambassador and Luminary Georgie Bell, Kenya’s Luxury brand ambassador- Dougie Duncanson, Akash Tomar, Alex Kavita and Sherlyne Muita.
Samia is certainly excited to have won. Starting out as a waitress she has always wanted to prove that women can excel in a male dominated bartending industry. Looking forward to the global finals she hopes to showcase the very best talent a female Kenyan mixologist can bring.
“Right now its pressure, pressure, pressure! I’m preparing myself to compete against the world and represent Kenya in a way that nobody has done before. I am sure it is going to be a surprise to those at the Final competition to see a lady representing Kenya”.